Paris Saint-Germain resume their Ligue 1 2020-21 campaign with a blockbuster fixture as they take on Marseille at the Parc des Princes.
Le Classique has lost a bit of it's unpredictability in recent seasons, with Paris Saint-Germain dominating the fixture, but the competitive spirit remains.
The post-mortem following the UEFA Champions League semi-final defeat to Bayern Munich was swiftly interrupted as seven superstars from the Ligue 1 champions, including Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, Thomas Tuchel was forced to name a makeshift lineup in their season-opener against newly-promoted Lens.
While academy products Kays Ruiz-Atil and Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga tried their hardest at the front end of Paris Saint-Germain's attack, they could not account for 20-year-old goalkeeper Marcin Bulka making a horrendous error at the other end.
Len's frontman Ignatius Ganago capitalised, scoring his third goal in as many games against the Parisians and consigning them to a 1-0 defeat.
Marseille were victims of COVID-19 as well, with staff and players on the sidelines as they faced off against Brest in their season opener. Florian Thauvin was in sparkling form, grabbing a goal and assisting twice for centre-back Duje Caleta-Car to score from set-pieces.
Brest were second best for much of the match, although Gaetan Charbonnier made it 2-3 going into injury time only for OM to hold out for the win.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Marseille Head-to-Head
The last Le Classique took place in October 2019, with Paris Saint-Germain hammering Marseille 4-0 at home. That was in line with recent results between the pair, as Marseille have managed only two draws in the last 10 meetings, while losing the remaining eight. Such has been the Parisian dominance, that they have scored 28 goals in those 10 games, while only conceding seven against Marseille in the process.
Paris Saint-Germain form guide: W-W-W-L-L
Marseille form guide: W-L-L-W-W
Paris Saint-Germain vs Marseille Team News
Despite the loss to Lens, Thomas Tuchel reiterated that he had no problems playing the same lineup against Marseille. However, Angel di Maria and Neymar have recovered from the coronavirus but are somewhat short of match fitness and may make the bench. Given youngster Marcin Bulka's blunder in the previous game, Sergio Rico ought to start in goal, with Navas still recovering from the coronavirus.
As for the transfer market, Paris Saint-Germain continue their negotiations with Eric Choupo-Moting, with the forward keen to stay at the club. There was encouraging news with the arrival of Alessandro Florenzi, on loan from AS Roma, with the right-back set to go straight into the barebones first team.
COVID-19: Keylor Navas, Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi, Marquinhos, Leandro Paredes
Doubtful: Angel di Maria, Neymar
Andre-Villas Boas has seen his squad and staff recover from the coronavirus and has no injury concerns as such. However, Morgan Sanson missed training for reasons unknown, with rumours of a move to Arsenal circulating. Valentin Rongier may replace him in the lineup, having impressed in the game against Brest.
Dimitri Payet is also fit to start against Paris Saint-Germain, having missed the season opener. His social media antics at the Parisians' expense have come under the scanner recently, which ought to add further spice to the derby.
Doubtful: Morgan Sanson
Paris Saint-Germain vs Marseille Predicted Lineups
Paris Saint-Germain predicted XI (4-3-3): Sergio Rico (GK); Alessandro Florenzi, Timo Kehrer, Presnel Kimpembe, Juan Bernat; Marco Verratti, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Ander Herrera; Pablo Sarabia, Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga, Kays Ruiz-Atil
Marseille predicted XI (4-3-3): Steve Mandanda (GK); Hiroki Sakai, Leonardo Balerdi, Duje Caleta-Car, Jordan Amavi; Valentin Rongier, Boubacar Kamara, Kevin Strootman; Florian Thauvin, Dario Benedetto, Dimitri Payet
Paris Saint-Germain vs Marseille Prediction
There won't be another 4-0 hammering for Marseille by all accounts, with Villas-Boas exhorting his team to capitalise on Tuchel's missing superstar. With Thauvin in superb form, coupled with the return of Dimitri Payet, Marseille may finally break their hoodoo and get one over on Paris Saint-Germain.
The home side's lack of firepower could mean another stinging defeat, although if Neymar and Di Maria come off the bench, it could change things.
Prediction: Paris Saint-Germain 1-2 MarseillePublished 12 Sep 2020, 13:57 IST